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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 13th, 2001, 05:56 PM   #1
ex-machina
 
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Looking to purchase XL1s

Hi,

I have been making films for about two years now, relying heavily on hired equipment, and analogue cameras for my work.

I'm looking to go digital for my next project, and this will be a big step for me.

The XL1s seems like an ideal unit for my purposes, and I am looking to use the rig for much of my filmwork as and when I get it.

I'm going to be using the camera to shoot and post on my PC.

What is the best capture card/software to use with the camera? Is there an external cap card that I can purchase that can be hooked up via USB, or am I probably looking at a PCI card for this purpose?

I'm in the UK, so if you could point me at any e-tailers that will ship to the UK, preferably those in the UK that deal in these capture cards, I would be most greatful.

Also, any feedback on the XL1s that could help, would be great. How easy is it to use etc?

I'm pretty new to all this, and haven't shot digital before.

I took a look on one thread which said the XL1s was inferior in picture sharpness to the XL1. I'm kinda hoping this isn't the case, as the XL1 is no longer available in my area. Thanks.
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Old October 13th, 2001, 06:13 PM   #2
ex-machina
 
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and also, how still is the camera? I'm gonna be spending a large amount of money on the unit, so I probably won't be able to splash out on extras right to start with. as is, in the full kit, how does the unit fare on your shoulder? is it shaky or still or what?
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Old October 15th, 2001, 02:42 PM   #3
chefmolnar
 
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Spend the cash on the XL1

I strongly recommend getting this camera.

The benefits far outweigh the problems.

With some minor tweaking in post, the quality is the closest thing to film, short of the HD 24p DV cams. Average, non-tech viewers of your work won't be able to tell the difference between XL1s DV and film (it's as good as Super 16, depending on your DP skills).

One of the problems is the shoulder support. It's always seemed to me as if the standard shoulder support that ships with the camera is "backwards". Instead of hooking around the back of your shoulder, it sort of hooks around the front... This means that the weight of the 16x lens pulls it down and to the front. The best thing to do is buy the MA100 or 200 -- even if you don't need the XLR inputs.

The other problem is the MA100 XLR inputs. If you want to run boom directly into the camera via XLR with no field mixer, you can only record one channel (L or R). I HATE THIS. At the very least, you should be able to record two-channel mono with a direct line into the XLR inputs. But you can't. If you run a mic into the XLR input, the audio is only left or right channel, which means you have to swap/separate channels in post.

Hope this helps your decision.

Chef
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Old October 15th, 2001, 03:14 PM   #4
ex-machina
 
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what I'm really interested in tho is the PC connectivity for post work. what am I gonna need to get this cam hooked up?

thanks for the info about that tho. looks like I am definately gonna buy now.
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Old October 15th, 2001, 03:29 PM   #5
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Howdy from Texas,

<< I'm really interested in tho is the PC connectivity for post work. what am I gonna need to get this cam hooked up? >>

You'll need a FireWire-equipped PC, and a FireWire cable. That's all you need. Consider the Canopus DVStorm for realtime non-linear editing in the DV format. See http://www.justedit.com for more Canopus info.
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Old October 16th, 2001, 07:36 PM   #6
ex-machina
 
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so essentially a firewire card and a copy of premier will be enuff to download video? or is capture software included in the box?

also - will I need a firewire cable, or is it included?
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Old October 16th, 2001, 07:46 PM   #7
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Well... with a Canopus card, you won't even need Premiere as it comes with its own editing and capture software. Although some Canopus cards include Premiere... it just depends on which one you're interested in.

Again, check out the Canopus website for more info... in your case you want the Canopus UK site at http://www.canopus-uk.com/

Check out the DVRaptor RT and the DVStorm SE & SE Plus. And all Canopus cards include FireWire cables, by the way. Hope this helps,
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Old October 16th, 2001, 09:13 PM   #8
pjssssss
 
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I second Chris' vote on checking the Canopus products. By far the best that I have had, and the forums are second to none (no offense Chris ;-8 )
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Old October 17th, 2001, 07:06 AM   #9
ex-machina
 
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great, thanks. I'll definately be considering that card :)
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 07:16 PM   #10
Machinist Mate
 
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ex-mach:
Canopus is definitely reputable, BUT... have you considered the Pinnacle DV500? It is real time (on 2 tracks) and comes with the latest vesion of Premiere. Or for a few $$ more, the Matrox RT2500--it has 3 tracks of real time and again comes with Premier. Either of these will do a great job, and both come with their own portfolio of real-time transitions. Also, if you still have one foot in the analog world, you may be pleased to know about one additional functionality of these cards: a breakout box for analog connections. It can be a real timesaver to take your legacy tapes (VHS, S-VHS etc.) and capture them directly without first dubbing them onto DV.

Having done enough non-linear editing, I can tell you that I crave real-time in a big way, once you really get into it, you will be amazed at how much faster the work goes when you don't have to wait for it to render. But either way, once you get into even rendering-required nonlinear editing, you will not believe you ever did this the old way. Ditto the camera versus old-school gear. It is truly a revolution. BTW, as for shakiness, I have found the image stabilization system of the XL to be incredibly good. As some previous posters have pointed out, the ergonomic form factor of the XL is somewhat unnatural. Whenever I shoot handheld, I use an aftermarket shoulder pod similar to the ones pictured on the Watchdog--actually it's an old Vanguard with some custom modifications by myself. It's no Steadicam, but it keeps me from developing terminal arthritis in my arms and back (it'll actually let me carry the camera hands-free!)

If you can't find an original XL1, I still see them new on eBay now and then, plus there's ALWAYS used ones for sale. That's where I got mine. And I am continuing to watch the developing XL1s saga, cuz I am contemplating updating--I would hate to get rid of a perfectly wonderful camera just to get the latest thing and then find it's not as good as I had.
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 07:39 PM   #11
Machinist Mate
 
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Exmach--
Forgot to mention,
I don't want to give the impression that Canopus cards don't come with analog breakouts, they do. That's what I meant by "these cards" Unfortunately, my Mac G4 does not. Although it came with a Firewire port as standard equipment, that gets you started easily but soon you discover the "fine print" and the ONLY thing possible on the Mac for adding real-time processing and analog breakouts is the Matrox--which DOESN'T come with software and ONLY works with Apple Final Cut Pro (which I have on my Mac but I had to pay $1000 for it). The gods clearly favor PC users on this matter. If I want to feed analog video into my NLE for editing, first I have to make a DV copy of it.

Also, Premiere is one of the choices offered with the Canopus as well. It's kind of the industry standard now, although I know that some of our friends out there will swear by the other brands of edit/capture software. Oh, did I mention that Premiere covers both functions (as do most brands). All you do is plug the Firewire cable that comes with the (Canopus/Pinnnacle/Matrox) card into your XL1, and capture up a storm. (Oooh, bad pun!)

Well, I think I have used up my quota of words today! :-)
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